Suspect charged with having gun on UNC campus appears in court

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Thursday, September 14, 2023
Suspect in UNC gun scare appears in court
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Mickel Deonte Harris made a court appearance on Thursday.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- The man suspected of having a gun on UNC-Chapel Hill's campus made a court appearance on Thursday.

Police arrested Mickel Deonte Harris, 27, of Durham, in the 300 block of Formosa Lane on outstanding warrants related to a road rage incident on Sept. 5. Harris was identified as the suspect in connection with an "armed and dangerous person" notification that prompted a lockdown on UNC's Campus Wednesday.

Harris didn't appear in the Hillsborough courtroom in person, instead attending via video monitor as he sat in the Orange County Jail.

His appearance was related to both incidents. Harris was appointed a public defender.

In the Sept. 5 case, he was accused of threatening someone near the Wegmans in Chapel Hill.

"The allegation includes pointing a bat, waving it at (the victim) and by displaying a handgun, saying the defendant would kill him, cause the victim to step away, causing the victim to say "I don't want to die, I have kids," said Maren Hardin, Orange County Assistant District Attorney.

Harris' bond was raised to $50,000.

"Based upon the serious nature of these charges, especially involving a firearm, I am going to grant the request from the state that they are requesting. I am going to increase the bond," said District Court Judge Hathaway Pendergrass. "I don't find the bond to be sufficient now for public safety. The bond will be increased to $50,000."

If Harris does make bail, he'll have to wear an ankle monitor and he won't be allowed anywhere near UNC's campus. He was also ordered to stay away from the person who was threatened at Wegmans and to stay off educational property.

Search warrants taken out by law enforcement showed officers found the 9mm handgun, a gun box with accessories, 30 rounds of 9mm ammunition, and four gun receipts

Harris was arrested at the Greenfield Complex about 10 to 12 minutes away from the Chapel Hill campus.

WATCH: Exclusive video as suspect taken into custody

UNC police said at a news conference that a campus alert was sent at 12:45 p.m. after Harris brandished a gun and threatened an employee in a bagel shop inside the student union, according to witnesses.

"According to witnesses, a suspect confronted an employee of Alpine Bagel which is inside the union, displayed a firearm, and threatened the employee," UNC Police Chief Brian James said.

James said officers reviewed camera footage from inside the student union. When asked why the "all clear" alert was sent before Harris was caught, James said:

"We did a number of sweeps on the grounds of campus, the outer perimeter and we had assurance that the suspect was not on campus."

ABC11 Breaking News crews at the scene said the complex appeared to be where Harris' mother lives.

Records showed Harris had a criminal history dating to 2013, including a misdemeanor larceny from 2017 and another misdemeanor communicating threats.

Through some parts of the hearing, Harris said, "I don't have a criminal record."

WATCH: UNC Police, chancellor give update on campus gun scare and arrest

James said officers are still searching for a motive.

Harris will be back in court next Monday.


This is the second time within three weeks that campus police and the university have issued a Carolina Alert and locked down the campus.

On Aug. 28, the alert was issued after a student allegedly shot and killed his professor.

University of North Carolina graduate student Tailei Qi has been charged and indicted with killing Associate Professor Zijie Yan in Caudill Labs.

The gun allegedly used by Qi has yet to be covered, according to UNC police.